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September 24th 2003

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Lame Duck Leaders

Never was the world more in need of strong leadership - never has it had so many light-weight weaklings in positions of power - governments seem lost in a maze of confusion from which they can’t find a way out.
Starting with this country, Bertie the Ditherer, is leading us nowhere. With his personal and political life in the dumps, the populace is feeling the effects. We are reaping the harvest of the profligacy that was practised in the good times - unrestrained spending that did much for instant gratification but little for the infrastructional building that was essential. With more than three years left till the next election, Bertie will have to rein in free spending ministers if he is not to leave the country bankrupt at the end of his tenure. It is time for this administration to make some hard decisions, but up to now there has been no sign that Bertie is tough enough to do so.
Across the water, Tony the Deceiver, is equally ineffective. As the lies and spin, that led his country to war with Iraq, are revealed, the real Tony is being laid bare. As in ‘The Emperors New Clothes’ the British people are realising that there is nothing to their leader but hype and hyperbole. Unfortunately, as in this country, Tony can look across at the opposition benches, and see nothing to fear, except maybe the Liberal Democrats.
And what about Georgie the Paranoid, across the pond. Probably the worst U.S. president ever, he is currently leading this great nation down the road to economic and military humiliation. Today, Tuesday, he crawls back to the UN to plead for money and help in Iraq, while Chirac and Schroder enjoy watching him squirm. So much for ‘old Europe’ and the ‘frog eaters’. A psychiatrist wouldn’t need anyone else but Dubya to demonstrate a whole range of personality disorders. If he were president of some small, third-world country, this would be bad enough - but as the so-called ‘leader of the Free World’ - it’s a disaster! But, hopefully, Georgie has only a year to go, anticipating that Americans will have the sense to ditch this terrible adminstration in next Autumn’s election. Then, maybe, we can look forward to the return of the nation of integrity and fair-play we used to know.
Over in Italy, we have con-man Berlusconi - only remaining in office because he coerced his government to pass a law directing that he could not be prosecuted for fraud and conflict of interest, during the period he held office as prime-minister. Renowned for shooting his mouth off - he recently compared a German Minister to a Nazi concentration camp guard, causing his Tentonic counterpart to cancel his holiday in Italy - the type of fun and games you would expect from school children, not the leaders of two of Europe’s, and the EU’s, most prominent countries.
And lastly, there is our Pope whose last trip to Eastern Europe was one too many. In extremely poor health, the frail Pontiff should be honourably stood down. He is in no physical or mental state to head the Catholic Church as it exists in modern times. If not present already, there should be structures put in place, to retire leading church figures, either when they reach a certain age, or when it became clear that they have difficulty performing the enormous tasks involved in running the vast complexity that is the Catholic Church today.

Tidy Towns Presentations

Tidy Town Presentations: Back: Ernan McGettigan, Town Mayor; Conal Breslin, sponsor, SuperValu; Patricia Wilson, Abbey Hotel, Best Business Property; Margaret Plunket, Clareden Drive, Best Kept Residential Area; Robbie Ellis and Robert Ellis, sponsors, Ashtree Garden Centre; Patricia Rooney and PJ Rooney, sponsors, Laghey Waste; Clr. Thomas Pringle, John Durcan, Chairman Donegal Town Community Chamber;

Front: Minister Mary Coughlan, Donal Dunne, Millpark Hotel, Overall and Best Kept Public Area winner; Frank Bustard, Lifetime Achievement Award; Minister Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, Brendan McGlone, Craft Village; Best Kept Commercial Area Clr. Peter Kennedy, Sian Breslin, Tidy Towns Committee Chairperson. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Donegal Town on the Move
Councillor Kennedy claims large
development earmarked for car-park

Much to the surprise of locals, and indeed council workers and supervisors, boring commenced in the car park and the hill behind the Diamond on Thursday 11th September. Intrigued, Donegal Times sent its chief reporter, Margaret Gallagher, on the road to find out what was going on.
Site Investigations Ltd, Newcastle, Co. Dublin, was the company involved. Two of its employees, Peter Friel and Frank McCarrol, the men carrying out the site boring, said that a consulting engineering firm had employed their company - but would not name. They understood a big development was being planned, including a multi-story car-park. The area designated for testing was from the back of Nero’s right down to Sene Lane.
Peter and Frank said that their company do preliminary work for big developments all over the country. They didn’t know what was planned for Donegal Town, but from past experience, whatever it was, would move quickly once checking for founds was finished. They felt it had to be a serious operation as the testing work costs a lot of money.
Our girl, Margaret, then contacted local councillor Peter Kennedy who confirmed that big plans were in place for this area “the proposed development, on Council property, is not at planning stage yet but that is the next step if site testing is successful”.
Peter said that there is no local involvement in the company interested in developing the site.
He confirmed that he had been working on this project for a long time, burning much midnight oil and making many trips to Dublin at his own expense.
Peter said that the proposed development would provide 200-300 jobs for Donegal and contain a two tier car-park for up to 500 vehicles.
While he would not confirm whether any large multiple would be part of the development, he hoped to reveal all in the near future. When questioned as to how traffic would access the site, Peter commented that this was the first thing they had studied and a plan is in place.

A Classic Return

Tony and Louie Foody have bought the Ross Hamilton property on the Diamond in which their Classic Casuals outlet was located, until fire closed it last Christmas. The couple will now start a major refurbishment of the premises and hope to have it open, bigger and better, in eight weeks time. Tony told Donegal Times that all tenants currently in place will continue to operate out of his newly acquired property.

New Bookie for Diamond
Subject to being granted a certificate of personal fitness, Jackie Mc Groarty will open a bookie shop at his premises on the Diamond in the location now occupied by Source Boutique. With OC’s and Tim Gallagher already in place and Sean Graham’s supposed to take over the old Proper Prices, punters in town will be spoiled for choice.

Big Trucks a Hazard on Scenic Route

Those big timber lorries traversing the byways of Lough Eske have the wits scared out of everybody. The size of the vehicles, combined with the narrowness of the road, leaves no room for error. The thought of visitors, circling the lake or heading for Harvey’s Point, probably driving a hired car, in strange territory and on ‘the wrong side of the road’, meeting these monsters, does not bear thinking about. If there hasn’t already been an accident - it’s a miracle. When there is a ‘wide load’ travelling on the main thoroughfare, it is preceded by a vehicle with a sign and flashing lights to warn oncoming traffic. On Lough Eske, those oversized trucks take up much more of the narrow road - either Coillte or the Timber Company should also provide advance warning.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-73-22860 Fax: +353-73-22937